Monday, October 06, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was asked by Misha of MishaMichele, whom I know In Real Life from the Valley of the Sun Retreats, to participate in the Around The World Blog Hop. Sounded like here goes!

I would love to know who exactly started this Blog Hop and when...I tried Googling  but there are soooooo many Around The World Blog Hop posts it's impossible to find the first one. I agree with Sophie - there should be a master page somewhere that lists all of the hoppers...maybe a suggestion for next year's blog hop??

1. What am I working on? 

The bottom of the Drip quilt. the colored part started out as a project in a class I took at Road to CA from Katie Pasquini Masopust. Most of the applique is done - I just need to finish that one last bottom piece (I don't care for how the under piece looks...) before I applique the piece to the border fabric.

The whole Drip quilt against the fabric that will be the borders - it is a very neutral looking piece of what must be home dec fabric - I have no recollection of how it came to be in my stash! It is a half yard piece, but from selvage to selvage, it is two yards wide.  The Drip quilt will measure more than a yard when the borders are added. I was initially worried about using this fabric because it seemed a bit thin, so I washed it...and it still has the same crispy body. It should be fine, since this is an art quilt, not a quilt that will get washed a great deal. I love the color against the finely dotted neutral...I have another fabric that is actual quilting cotton that is essentially the same pattern in a different shade of tan, but I like the color on this one better. Plus...there is more of this one so I can applique it directly instead of cutting border pieces. I need to iron the color block, but will wait to do that until I finish that last wee bit of applique.

The mini Eclipse quilt  - I did the blocks at last retreat.  I put the center together by hand since that is the only way I can get nice sharp intersections. For the borders, I have been trying different combinations of the Fossil Fern fabrics and I think I like this one with the triple border of orange, purple and pink best. I keep finding  more fat quarters of different Fossil Ferns almost every time I look through my stash. They are in a separate pile now. Need to get this one done before next Retreat as there will be a showing of all of the Eclipse quilts.

This is a detail from the Mixed Media piece from a class with Patt Blair at Road To needs a bit more quilting and the buttons need to be sewn on before I am happy with how it looks.

More buttons...

The whole Mixed Media quilt...with the buttons pinned on. Most of these are antique buttons from the stash I inherited from my Granny. (The green hearts are a more recent vintage!)

Framed Hexies - this was a project Pirate (another blogger I know In Real Life) started, decided she didn't like this particular technique for hexies so she gave the whole kit and caboodle to me. I worked on these during my vacation. Not sure what it will end up being...or how big it will get - there is enough done that with a couple more blocks, it would make an interesting table topper. But there are oodles of cut pieces still in the project bag...they are cute, quick and portable...and a conversation starter...

Tuscan Landscape - it is very nearly done. I added a flock of sheep on the hill after looking at some more pictures of this view of Tuscany which I have discovered is in Val d'Orsia. I may take the bottom edge quilting out since its getting too puffy...I need to quilt tiles into the floor and add some decorations on the archway.

My 'Forever Project' - the wee hexie basket...this is made with 1/4 inch sized hexies..I just have the background to finish..the boring part! It will likely get minimal quilting and be put into a hard frame to be hung on the wall when it is finished. (I need to take pictures more often...I see something I need to fix again!)

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I tend not to use commercial patterns, though I have done some...and I really dislike making the same block over and over, so there are only a few quilts like that in my repertoire. And you won't find very many 30's reproduction fabrics in my stash. I tend to like either true-to-life colors or bright saturated colors. Batiks and hand dyes are my favorites.

3. Why do I create what I do? 
I have always been creative - I come from a very creative family, where creativity is cherished. My paternal grandfather was a professional artist - there are still examples of his art on display. His brother was also a professional artist. Their father was a master jeweler at Tiffany's in New York. My maternal grandmother was a prolific quilter - she and her charity group made hundreds of quilts for the homeless. As a child, I designed Barbie clothes, dressed my dolls and stuffed animals, made all sorts of things - my favorite magazine when I was growing up was Pack-o-Fun. Every month, I would read devour that magazine as soon as the issue arrived in the mail box.

I love trying new techniques just to see how they work. As a consequence, I have oodles of WIPs (Work In Progress) and PIGZ (Projects In Gallon Zippies) which is a common occurrence with most quilters, I suspect. 

4. How does my creating process work?
I draw inspiration from all around me. Sometimes a new quilt is suggested by something I see, though a goodly number of them are class projects. I know some folks never finish what they start in a class, but I feel obligated to at least do something with the materials since I have invested time and money and fabric - I can generally figure out a way to finish any project (I would not have taken the class if I didn't at least think I would finish!) - some just take longer than others!  I still have at least three in various stages that are waiting their turn to be finished. But...I will finish them - God willin' and the crick don't rise!

I noodle around with an idea for a while and mostly I can 'see' the finished product before I start...though I have been trying to loosen up a bit and try different things after the basic design is done..

I am supposed to tag three more quilters. It is getting hard to find quilters that haven't been tagged! are my tag-ees! I haven't heard back from the last blogger, but am putting her link info in in the hopes that she will reply back in the affirmative.

Rian  of Rian's Pages  who recently moved into a new house and has just re-started quilting. She has a very interesting technique where she uses large sheets of freezer paper with flowing designs, mostly rendered in yummy batiks.

Sophie of Sophie Junction who  already did the Around the World Blog Hop post.  I am fascinated by her use of color. Another of the quilters I know In Real Life as I have attended a Retreat with Sophie.

Tanya of  ByTaniwa who is a quilter from Japan. She moved to Japan from the US to teach English...and ended up staying after she met her handsome hubby Tetsu. I enjoy reading about all of her adventures.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Visit to the Reagan Presidential Library

We ventured out to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Saturday with DD for Father's Day. Got there just after they opened - a good thing, since the parking lot filled up quickly and when we left, there were cars parked all along the drive for almost a mile!

Very impressed with the grounds and the Library..we got to go thru Air Force One and  the helicopter that Reagan used...the exhibits were very interesting. I even went riding with Ron:

What I didn't expect to see were QUILTS!! They had a baseball exhibit that featured a number of quilts along with bats, gloves, baseball cards, peanut roaster carts, uniforms, models of the old baseball stadiums, pinball games, pictures and even the traveling trunk that Babe Ruth used!..the curator said it was only 1/3 of the collection (Wow!) My apologies for the dimly lit pictures...they have a no-flash rule at the Library, the quilts were behind glass..and there is only so much you can do with editing..

This last one did not have a card explaining who the maker was:
The Baseball exhibit will be at the Library til September 4.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The 1100 Year Old Tree

On our adventures yesterday, we found this 1100 year old oak tree...imagine what this tree has lived was around when the Magna Carta was signed!

The grounds are a popular wedding venue..we even saw a Bride walking down the dirt path towards this spot...

View from behind the oak tree:

The rest of the grounds are pretty interesting..its an old resort with ancient buildings...and this pond in one of the center park areas featuring a wee castle at the base of the tree..over time, the tree has cracked the castle so its ruins...
View from the other side of the pond on the stone bridge:

A light house on the far end of the pond:

And a waterfall on the other side of the stone bridge

Easter 2014

After a delicious Easter dinner of roast lamb, we had a yummy pineapple upside down cake:
I made the Easter table runner many years ago and put it out every year.

And we took a wee drive into the hills. Car was getting a bit hot so we turned around after a few miles but I managed to get a shot of these sunflowers..might put them into a quilt someday.

Monday, March 24, 2014


We took a little jaunt up into Apple Country this afternoon. The apple trees are blooming! In all the years we have lived here, we have never gone up to Apple Country in the spring...we have gone several times in the fall, to pick apples and raspberries.

The air was very hazy and there was a lot of glare, so I was lucky this picture turned out - I could not see it on the phone and just had to hope it was ok! No idea why it was so hazy though.

It was peaceful up there without the crowds!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Rainy Saturday...

So Cal is getting some much needed water...and I did some more sewing!

Made this reversible toy for DGD...almost thought it was going to be a WOMBAT (Waste of Material, Batting And Time)...but DH says its cute and I guess it works well enough..

One side is a caterpillar (made with some scraps of the leftover lime green fleece!)
Turn it inside out and voila...a butterfly...with sparkly wings  - I put gold netting over the fleece..which made the wings much stiffer than I expected..but they do have some shine to them. Thinner fleece for the wings would also have helped..but I only had medium weight fleece in a big enough piece to make the wings.

Also sewed up this panel I got from the donations table at Retreat..its a growth chart...I backed it with the leftover lime green fleece from the Christmas Tree Skirt...and used the cardboard tube of a dry cleaning pants hanger for hanging - didn't want it to be wood or metal....

AZ Retreat Part 5

Not all of the stuff at Retreat is quilting...

My cool New Balance shoes...unfortunately, they are not the most comfortable shoes..but they sure are bright!

I was not the only one with colorful shoes - another gal also has the same shoes and then there are these bright Danskos:

A couple of the ladies made selvedge vests...I really like how they turned out!

AZ Retreat Part 4

Last year at Retreat, the speakers were the Lumberyard Ladies...who showed us what different blocks and quilts could be made out of scraps cut into 'lumber' - 2x2,2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 4x4, etc (if its a common lumberyard term, its part of their system!!)...

So...there was a Lumberyard Challenge for this year:
The quilts were hung on the fence around the pool and ballots were placed in the bucket...we invited the guests of the hotel to vote as well as all the Retreaters...

First place:

Second Place:

Third Place (tie)

AZ Retreat Part 3

One of the mini classes this year was an Improv quilting class. I really like how the improv quilt turned out:

I am going to have to try this technique! (this is the instructor's quilt)

Another mini 'class' was playing with my Tsunineko inks...I brought foam core boards, white plastic trash bags, some coloring book printouts, some PFD fabric and the tray bag of inks...and three of the ladies joined me in playing...I think they all turned out MARVELOUSLY - especially since we only had an hour to do these:

AZ Retreat Part 2 - Eclipse Sew Along

Last year at Retreat, one of the gals was working on an Eclipse quilt...that turned into a group sew along this of the ladies bought a bunch of the patterns and another lady taught us how to cut the curves and stitch them. This is the quilt that started it all:

She made hers out of batiks..chosen to match the border fabric. I don't make very many huge quilts, so mine is the mini version. And I used a charm pack of Fossil Ferns instead of the batiks...
This is before I finished sewing all the blocks and squaring up:

After squaring up...DH said he liked this so I am actually inspired to finish it!

AZ Retreat Part 1

Last weekend was the annual Quilting Retreat in Arizona. The weather was PERFECT..warm enough to wear short sleeves, capris and sandals! I love going on this retreat, it fires me up for working on my projects.

I did a whole bunch of projects....
First was this Christmas Tree Skirt...sadly my Christmas Tree is STILL I have the tree skirt around the tree...(it makes a cozy cape - its lined with lime green fleece...and Misty the Quilt Inspector has thoroughly inspected and uses it as a napping spot) 

I got the borders on the Mixed Media piece (shown in the Road To CA 2014 post).

I got the rest of the fabric on the Drip Painting quilt cut out, marked and its ready to applique whenever the mood should strike me to start it...

This was one of my Show and Tells this year:
The David Taylor Hummingbird... I started the quilting on this at last year's Retreat and worked on it sporadically over the summer...One Saturday in the Fall..the power went out at the house and I took it out on the patio and finished up the quilting. The power was still out (I called the Electric Company and they said it would take a few hours...) so I took my hand crank machine out  to the patio and stitched on the facings (like a bigger binding but turned all the way to the back)...the power was still I turned the normally I would iron them at this point, but since that was not possible, I did it the old fashioned way and basted it!..the power was STILL out so I hand stitched the facings down...the power came back on a few minutes after I finished!